Six Stories to Follow Leading up to Training Camp

There are always lots of questions leading up to a new season in the OHL, and this is no different with our Barrie Colts. After missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons the team is in uncharted waters having only missed the playoffs three times total in their 25 year history. This season has a different feel than any other, especially in the Dale Hawerchuk era. With only a few weeks until camp, there are a few stories to follow before we know what this year's edition of the Barrie Colts will truly be. 

1. Signings yet to be announced

While the Colts made quick work of signing Brandt Clarke, Jacob Frasca, Trey Zagrzebski and most recently Ryan Del Monte we have a few important pieces yet to be officially signed. Vlad Dvurechenskii is an interesting player I'd like to see get signed but he may have to earn it in training camp. We have yet to see the Colts imports sign yet. While JJ Peterka feels like a pick for next season, it would be surprising to see if Silovs doesn't sign with the Colts and battle the crease with Jet Greaves this season. 

2. OA Situation

While the Colts certainly have had more difficult overage situations in the past, the Colts will still have to make a decision this year on who the three overagers will be. Jason Willms and Jacob Tortora will be locks for two spots. This leaves Aidan Brown and Chris Cameron to fight for the last spot. My money would be on Brown getting the final overage position. 

3. Where will the depth scoring come from

Scoring was a struggle for the Colts last season, and it could be once again this year. A likely top line of Ryan Suzuki, Matej Pekar and Jacob Tortora should be able to provide steady offence. Jason Willms can be counted on for 20-30 goals. After that, there are question marks. After a good rookie season, we likely see Tyson Foerster continue to develop and put up strong offensive numbers. Riley Piercey should also be more comfortable this season and it would be great to see him get a larger role, and with it provide some offence. Players such as Luke Bignell, Aidan Brown and Sam Rhodes may not have taken the steps last year that was expected, but they are solid players and have the potential to do that this year. Dalton Duhart who was acquired in the Joey Keane trade is also an intriguing player for the team. Lastly, while Ryan Del Monte is extremely skilled, coming into the OHL as a rookie without playing competitive hockey in over 8 months may require expectations to be adjusted out of the gate, but by all accounts, Ryan will be a very good player for the Colts. 

4. Assistant Coach hire 

Right around the time of the OHL draft, the team announced they would be looking for an assistant coach to join Dale Hawerchuk and Todd Miller on the bench. Last season the team struggled at times to consistently play with structure and another voice behind the bench could make a difference. With a few weeks until camp, it will be interesting to see if this is indeed still the plan and who it will be joining Hawerchuk and Miller behind the bench this season. 

5. Who will be the imports

The import situation with the Colts is still not certain. While Matej Pekar is likely to return, it is not a sure thing as he can play pro this season if Buffalo chooses to go that route. Silovs and Peterka have also yet to sign officially which leaves a spot open for now. If both were to sign they would need to find a place for Pekar to play if he is returned to the OHL. 

6. Barrie Colts 25th anniversary celebrations

To end on a positive note, it will be interesting to see what the team has in store for their 25th season. The logo has been released and based on previous anniversary seasons we can expect a new alternate jersey. It would be great to see them bring back some alumni as they did 5 years ago, and it could be time to retire or honour a number with a banner in the rafters.  It's not long until camp now, so be sure to follow Very Barrie Colts for training camp details and updates as they become available.

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